States are starting to release restrictions on elective surgeries for hospitals. Across the U.S. hospitals have begun to plan when and how they will resume elective procedures. Many states from the U.S., including Georgia, Florida, and Oregon, have already released restrictions on nonessential medical procedures.
As soon as the number of confirmed Coronavirus patient rise, the number of joint replacements, other elective, spinal fusions, non-emergent patients count dropped, in some cases up to 99 percent since the pandemic crisis started.
Almost all hospitals had canceled their services, and many others started to prepare their organizations for a potential surge in patients infected with the coronavirus. Providers freed up capacity by taking only a few patients who were seeking elective services.
But now the patient flow is down in many states, some providers are resuming their services for patients who had delayed their procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the question is how hospitals are going to manage the newly aroused demands for services while still ensuring the safety of their providers and patients?
Volumes reduced by 30 percent
University hospitals reduced their surgical volumes to about 30 percent of its pre-pandemic norm. Some of the surgeries kept on hold, including hip and knee replacements and percutaneous coronary interventions, account for up to 50 percent of total payments made to a hospital.
Healthcare systems are not slowly increasing their capacity. They have increased their capacity about 80 percent as of mid-May under the direction of a comprehensive plan to reopen surgical lines of business. Resuming postponed and medically necessary surgeries at hospitals is a team effort.
St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, a 636-bed hospital system in Savannah, Georgia, reopened for elective procedures in late April. The hospital’s CEO said it would start to reopen its outpatient areas, but would still screen patients at the door for Covid-19 and keep visitor restrictions in place.
The granular data empowered the implementation team to recognize that how much operating room minutes are needed to accommodate the patients demand surgeries across the hospital. Merging that data with the health system’s current demand, the team was then able to recognize how many operating room blocks were needed location-wise services to resume services successfully.
Patient and provider who is going to carry a surgery, a relationship between these is very important. Ensuring surgeons had visibility into the operating room was critical to resuming elective and non-emergent surgeries.
Patient Verification will help Surgeons
The patient list which has a patient list for surgery was already financially cleared by the revenue cycle team or that patient had an insurance authorization already approved. This information can enable surgeons to schedule patients with the same acuity efficiently; those with financial clearance could be scheduled sooner since there were no administrative roadblocks, while the billing teamwork to clear and schedule the other patient. And while administrative staff scheduled operating room time, the implementation team set safety standards across the healthcare system to reduce contact to coronavirus as the operating room reopened.
Unfortunately, many hospitals and healthcare systems are still relied on email, fax, and other manual processes to manage operating room time. Surgeon access modules through a tool like Hospital IQ, which is used across University Hospitals, can help healthcare organizations book a growing backlog of patients efficiently.
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